Friday, July 27, 2007


The Dog Days of Summer are here for sure, and I don't mean the days when the Dog Star follows the Sun across the sky in July and August as I'm sure you all know. We have had heat, plenty of it, and it has been bone dry, yet another cute phrase. About the only bones I know are bone dry are when you're dead. Still it fits the miserable weather and drought we've had, but I'm not talking about that either. No, I'm talking about the invasion of new dogs into little old Coltons Point and the bizzare impact it has had on the village.

Now that several rentals and a couple of sales have been completed and every dwelling in the Point seems to be occupied, by my reckoning we have had an increase of about 15 dogs this summer ranging from Pit Bulls to Great Danes, rag muffins to shepards. Imagine that, 15 new dogs in a couple of months when we average about 1-2 per year. You don't move 15 dogs into a little fishing village without some real pains since in many cases the dog owners were entirely clueless about life in this seaside paradise.

Now some of them came from the big city where certain things are expected like the immediate availability of police and dog catchers I guess and it was a rude awakening to them when they discovered our first responders might show up any time in the next few days. Short of someone in the final throes of death there are not many reasons for anyone to hurry to the Point when everywhere else has much worse problems. At least that's how it was until the new people showed up and turned the village upside down.

Here at the Point people are friends. If we have problems we settle it among ourselves. There is simply no need to bother outside authorities with the small problems of the Point. And then ex-GI Joe showed up. Now he expected an immediate response to everything from everyone. One day he gets a dog, a slightly aggressive dog no less, and the next day he has the dog catcher on speed dial with a continuous flow of reports of vicious dogs at the Point who attack dogs and people. In a matter of a couple of weeks he made more reports of vicious dogs in the Point than the Animal Control had received the previous 10 years. Now that is how you want to introduce yourself to your new neighbors.

Thanks to the very strange perception of ex-GI Joe dogs that have never been reported for aggressive behaviour suddenly became raging menaces and when he reported the Grand Dame of the Point, the property of all Pointers, our beloved Golden Retreiver Holly to the authorities, well that was the ultimate insult to Pointers with a conscious. I mean Holly, the orphan of the Point, who has survived and been cared for by people from one end of the Point to the other is about the friendliest dog in the world. She has kept our seniors company over the years, been the only security in the Point as she guards the community against intruders throughout the night, and escorts people on their walks. You might see her swimming in the river, hopelessly chasing a rabbit, or hiding behind a hedge at night. You will never see her hurting another dog or person. At over 12 years old and with sometimes severe arthritis, what the hell kind of threat could she be to anyone. Yet ex-GI Joe is fearful for his life because of her.

Of course that wasn't even the worst of it. Wild Willie's two and a half dogs suddenly became a vicious pack of killers on the hunt. Before the influx of new people about the worst said of the Wild Willie gang was that they barked too much. Now they were transformed into a deadly pride of lions on the prowl. All Animal Control had to do was take a look at that gang to know their bark was much worse than their bite. The streets of the Point were about to become killing fields if you were to believe the Animal Control and Police reports. Neighbors were taking sides. People were being intimidated and afraid to talk. Somehow the stupid dog issue was growing into a daytime soap opera.

When the dust finally settled, when the tickets were paid and the court appearances finished, when Animal Control finally got to take care of the rest of the county and the sheriff's office got back to chasing real threats to society, the Point was no longer the same. Dogs whose greatest pleasure was in giving pleasure through companionship to people, often lonely people, were no longer free to make their rounds. Dogs who took a personal responsibility for the safety and security of neighbors by checking on them and their houses every night were no longer free to provide such help. Dogs who enjoyed the freedom of wandering the Point and entertaining the adults and children, along with the visitors, could entertain no more.

The neighborhood dogs who were out at night and could prevent skunks, foxes, racoons and deer from over-running the neighborhood, not to mention bringing rabies into the village, were no longer free to protect the neighborhood from the creatures of the woods and swamps. My how the march of civilization helps us mature. When you really think about it, the biggest flaw with animal laws was the wrong creatures were on the leash. Animals can work things out. It is the humans that screw up the world for everyone else.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Haughty Helen and Little Jon's Coming Out Party

Haughty Helen gave the social event of the sweltering summer season at Coltons Point when she hosted the Little Jon Coming Out Party at her seaside villa. Little Jon, as you may or may not recall, is quite smitten with Helen whose genealogy makes her a direct descendant of the English outcasts who first introduced the local natives some 400 years ago to the white man and the Catholic Church, either of which spelled certain doom to the Native Americans.

Over 850 people showed up for the party along with about 10 jazz bands and several concession trucks. While family pressure caused Haughty to supply some food, in as much as proper etiquette required something to be set out for the insects, the concession trucks handled most of the traffic.

Rumor has it the party was Haughty's biggest since her own debutante ball back in the days of the governor's mansion and certainly it was the wildest party at the Point since the destruction of the Blackistone Hotel by the Kopels, a hotel which they acquired from Helen's descendants.

While they tried to blame the destruction on a turn of the last century hurricane, a lot of revealing records of the strange activity taking place at Kopel's seaside resort vanished in the chaos. Ironically the old hotel was just down the beach from Helen's villa. Ink Spot and her hubby, who used to be known as President Bob but has since relinquished his presidency to Sheila and is now known as Captain Bob what with the marina, his charge over the Clements Island fleet, and having his own swimming pool, claim they are prepared to begin revealing the secrets of the old hotel sometime soon.

Back at the coming out party, about 800 of the 850 guests were unknown to most of the Pointers but when you have a family with nearly 400 years of local history you are bound to know a few people. Speaking of family, the Haughty Helen family was out in force to make certain their sister did the family tree proud. They even brought back John Michael from the family compound in northern Wisconsin where he is in charge of the survival outpost. The new family patriarch and golf champion Phil brought his entourage on the family yacht which was just too big to dock at Helen's pier so people had to be shuttled back and forth to shore. Brother Phil was surrounded by well wishers and patrons and he even had a couple of priests in tow in the unlikely event the food was not as good as expected.

Of all the people present, Little Jon seemed to be hardest to find as he could only be caught at a glimpse scurrying around fussing over food, drinks, dogs and his sister all the while trying to avoid being the center of attention. A great time was had by all, especially those found still on the premises the next morning passed out on chairs, docks and boats. Haughty Helen insisted they were not invited guests. Watch for her next social adventure sometime around the year 2017 and hope you are on the invite short list again.

Why I Stopped Writing Articles

Top ten reasons I stopped writing articles for a time...

10. Everything in Coltons Point started to seem normal.
9. I heard a rumor the End Times was about to happen.
8. I couldn't decide if Bush or the Democrats were responsible for the mess.
7. I was waiting for the stock market to top off.
6. I was trying to decide who makes all the oil profits.
5. I couldn't figure out why I'm paying for garbage pick up I don't get.
4. I was waiting for it to rain.
3. I was waiting for Bailey's million dollar lighthouse to topple again.
2. I was trying to sail to Clements Island and back with Stevie Van Zany.
1. I was waiting for Haughty Helen to have her coming out party for Little Jon.

Here's what you missed in local, state, national, world and universal affairs. I guess nothing. We have a weak economy so the stock market goes up. People stop driving and the gas prices go up. Now food and just about everything are coming from China. (How does one make food in China?) Prescription drugs are failing every day. Osama Bin Laden seems to be doing well in caves.

Weather news - it sucks.

Sports news - NASCAR drivers are fist fighting. Football stars run dog fights. Baseball umpires bet on their own games. Steroids will break Hank Aaron's home run record. Lacrosse players won't be inviting hookers to parties. And the most expensive soccer player in history is now in the good old USA and still no one will watch the game. (What did the English know that we didn't?)

Coltons Point news, on the other hand, is alive and well so stay tuned for more features as the things that happen to the Pointers cannot be summarized.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Black Hole of Calcutta

Sailing with Stevie Van Zany in the Black Hole

Anyone ever wonder where the black hole of Calcutta goes? I checked it out on a globe and I think it goes from India right to Coltons Point, straight through the core of the Earth, which would certainly help explain some of the strange events that take place here in Pointerville.

So just what do people throw into a black hole anyway? If the hole started here it would probably be crab skeletons, oyster shells, credit cards and a bunch of other stuff of absolutely no consequence yet certain to raise eyebrows when it shows up in India.

Here in Coltons Point at the bottom of the black hole of Calcutta we don't get anything too interesting either, as least not in the form of stuff. But I think we do get a mystical mystery from India far more significant than you might think.

Very strange things take place here in the Point as I've reported in earlier articles from the landing of aliens to the ghost of John Wilkes Booth, and I've experienced a few of them myself. Things you might expect in the Bermuda Triangle seem to happen here that defy traditional explanation.

Here is a recent example. For some time crazy Stevie Van Zany has been asking me to sail out to Clements Island with him. I was holding out for riding in his power boat but he insisted, since he "did" grow up on the shore and being a waterman was a natural thing.

Finally he wore me down and I agreed except when I arrived at his house for the launch I noticed it seemed perfectly still outside, not a good omen for a sailing adventure. I mentioned it to Van Zany but he insisted the wind always blew on the river, even if it was still on the shore. That sounded like a line from a real estate agent selling shore fronts but what the hell.

Well the sail boat was not at all what I expected for cruising the mighty Potamac. Hell, we would have been overmatched fighting the current from the garden hose so I was glad there was little wind. We pushed the little bathtub to the water and I got in and the little matchbox nearly flipped over backwards, thankfully hitting bottom before going too far. I asked Stevie how many people could sail in it and he said 3. Now the only way that could happen was if they were the cast of munchkins from the Wizard of Oz.

I make no claims to being a waterman, fisherman, or even a good swimmer but even I noticed a few odd things about this craft. First, there was a long broom handle sticking out of the rudder handle about 6 feet. Thus there were two ways to get knocked in the side of the head in this little death trap, by the sail or the rudder. There was a motor mount but the motor was missing. So were the oars and that was my first clue Stevie was kidding about all the sailing experience or suffering from early alzheimers. He acknowledged he would run and get them as he seemed to have forgot.

Meanwhile I was left in the back of the boat, the front was clearly out of the water, while the back rested firmly in the sand under the water. He returned, we shoved off, and started paddling for the end of the pier as he now revised his wind story and said it would pick up at the end of the pier. He said it would be a 8-10 minute sail to the island and we would check out the new lighthouse and return within the hour. It was nice out so I figured okay.

Something ruffled the sail when we hit the end of the pier and slowly we started making our journey toward the island about a mile away. Progress was quite slow so we fetched a couple of beers from the cooler and I noticed about a case of beer stashed away. "Planning to be gone long?" I asked. He said it was for an emergency.

About an hour later we actually made it to the island, though no where near the shore, when he started these intricate tacking actions to swing us somewhere out around the island. After an hour of sailing I noted to Stevie we were passing the same crab trap marker over and over again and the stationary trap seemed to be pulling ahead of us. Not only that, we never seemed to get to the far side of the huge cross on the island and now the wind was gone.

In the first sign of weakness from Captain Stevie he said we should slow down the beer consumption as we might need it for breakfast if things didn't shape up. Of course it was only mid-afternoon at the time and we were just 2 1/2 hours into our ten minute trip by then. In the distance I saw a Bailey boat dropping supplies at the lighthouse and then heading back toward shore and he would pass within about 300 yards of us. I asked Van Zany if he had something red to wave so we could get a tow but he said no way. The code of the sea required a captain to never admit failure, even if it meant going down with his boat. Slowly the Bailey boat disappeared in the distance.

We were trapped in a circular current and could not get to the island, nor back to shore. We would probably keep drifting in small circles until we died in the shadow of the cross, all because of some stupid code of the sea. He took the oars and an hour later we made it back to the crab marker which was ahead of us when we started. Swimming was starting to sound like our only hope except earlier that week a bunch of kids tried to swim to the island and wound up ten miles away on Crabb Island.

By the start of the 4th hour we almost made it to the shore side of the island, having spent nearly 2 hours stuck on one side of a 40 acre land mass. Miraculously we finally got a breeze when we cleared the island and started tacking back for the pier just 1 mile away. But even the forces of nature were not about to let us off that easy. The slight sustained wind dropped to an occasional whisper not quite enough to fill the sail so now we were in a race to see if the whimpy wind was stronger than the natural current, again we were victims of the tides.

Our tacking became tacky and we found ourselves headed with the tides toward the museum pier, not Van Zany's pier. As we helplessly drifted toward the wrong pier we noticed a gathering of fishermen on the pier pointing at us, as if they knew we were at the mercy of nature. I told Stevie we should just land there and drag the damn boat the half mile down the river shore to his pier but the captain was adamant that no one, mind you no one, should know we were not in complete control of that tiny ship.

"Let's just wave at them as we sail past," he said. I pointed out that the way the tides were going we might just crash into the middle of them but Van Zany said we would row if necessary to protect the integrity of the rivermen. I was about to shout to them to throw me a beer from their cooler but they were laughing so loud they might not have heard when suddenly a tiny breeze pushed us safely past the potentially devestating embarrassment of bouncing the sail boat off the museum pier in front of a crowd of entertained fishermen.

This time we were able to maintain our course and reached land 4 hours and 38 minutes into our ten minute sail to the island and ten minute return. Zany was so happy he jumped out before we hit shore promptly sending the front end flying up in the air and causing the back of the boat, where my butt was parked, to drop into the cold river this time.

Just another typical outing at Coltons Point but it was just the first of three attempts Van Zany, this fearless old salt, was to undertake in his futile effort to reach the island just beyond his pier. Stay tuned for more details.

Whose Space is MySpace?

For those of you who don't know this, and quite a few of you don't, I write songs, as in words and music, and I have a band in Nashville, called Nashville Bound. We have a band site on MySpace, the giant of all virtual cyber dumps for mindless minds, and there are a ton of them. Imagine this, there are over 190 million, yes I said million, web pages on MySpace making it the largest international community in cyber space.

When they iron out the wrinkles, when the corruption matures and can go unnoticed, when the latte sipping whiz kids have squeezed every last ounce of data from you and know all your personal habits, then MySpace might finally get their act together and put the record companies, radio stations and resident crooks out of business.

Anyway, I have a band site on MySpace and my band is listed under Swing, Western Swing and Country on MySpace charts. Now that is not particularly big news but what happened on MySpace to the music might be. For the past month Nashville Bound has been one of the top 3 bands in the world in Swing, and in the top 6 in Western Swing in terms of the number of plays of songs per day.

There are over 3 million bands on MySpace from every country in the world so that is a pretty good position to be in. Only one problem, MySpace is ignoring their own daily numbers and refuse to place the band where it belongs on the charts. Today the band finished #3 but MySpace music editors placed it #36. In the past month the Nashville Bound music has been ranked everywhere from #28 to #94 and even off the charts one day while never finishing worse than #5 in daily plays.

So I wrote an email to MySpace asking why the band is not ranked in the top 5 every day. I got no response. Three days later I wrote again, still no response. After five emails in 2 weeks I finally got a response but the answer had nothing to do with my questions and concerns. There are no humans working at MySpace. Ever since Murdock and his News Corp bought MySpace people seem to be vanishing. Now I've got 5 responses about 3 different subjects none remotely related to my questions.